The Underdog

More classic Old Dog with another heartfelt appreciation of a player who deserves it. Tom Goodwin is a Lilydale boy leading the way for Coburg, a club to which he feels tremendous commitment. [Super piece Old Dog – JTH]

What it takes to play finals

Gotta love Matt Zurbo’s take on footy and life. Much to consider in this piece.

Round 15 – GWS v Geelong: Game End (Far from a match report – this raises a number of timely issues)

How does the modern player respond to a draw, or to any result? What is the nature of a three quarter time address? Has the club tribe become a single football tribe of players drawn from the same pond. Should players be more gutted at the result, or their own performance. Lots to consider in Old Dog’s piece – in which he is really thinking through matters out loud.

Round 12 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: Barracking for Towers

Sometimes the little things help you see bigger pictures. The Old Dog watches Sydney play Footscray (as he calls them) in Sin City, from an empty Tassie pub… for friendship and footy.

Way Down South

Matt Zurbo shares a conversation with his boss’s son about love, work, footy and life. All while heading to the training ground.

AFL v Aussie Rules – The Brand

Matt Zurbo takes a look at the effect Television rights are having on the game of Aussie Rules.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Old Dog hasn’t seen much footy and when he does, after six months and four rounds, he’s blown away.

Once a Tiger

Matt Zurbo wishes the Almanac community a happy Christmas. His gift is a transcript of his interview with Ron Branton, which captures the life of a 1950s footballer superbly. Sections of this interview appear in Matt’s book Champions All.

Local Footy and Mighty Wallpaper

Matt Zurbo is the subject of Martin Flanagan’s column in The Age today. Here is a piece he wrote in July 2012.

Off Season Odyssey – Part 42: South or West

The road is a hungry thing, calling, even when it’s made of nothing but sand.

[This piece was first published in late 2012. It was part of a series where Old Dog jumped in the ute and travelled from the south of Tasmania to far north Queensland and west to the Mallee in South Australia. Read more of Matt’s pieces by clicking on his name in the left sidebar.]

Local Footy: The club where Blunnies mattered

Matt Zurbo’s first footy club (many years ago) was a suburban club where the blokes worked hard and played hard. Young Matt Zurbo was made welcome because of his Blundstone boots. Not footy boots. His work boots.

The Unconformity Cup – Nowhere Footy

Old Dog goes to Queenstown where he plays a fun (but proper) footy match on the famous gravel oval during the Unconformity Festival. [This is an Old Dog special – JTH]

Almanac Books: Champions All extract – 1976 Grand Final

Continuing our highlights from Old Dog’s book, Champions All, an excerpt featuring the 1976 Grand Final.

Almanac Books: Champions All extract – 1970 Grand Final

Continuing our highlights from Old Dog’s book, Champions All, an excerpt featuring the 1970 Grand Final.

Grand Final 2016 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: Let’s Talk About Love

Old Dog, with his brilliant analysis, the Grand Final and the Doggies win made the world seem like a better place.

Almanac Books: Champions All extract – Ian Paton The Club Soldier

Continuing our highlights from Old Dog’s book, Champions All, an excerpt from the Chapter: The Club Soldier, Ian Paton, Hawthorn.

Almanac Books: Champions All extract – Mick Martyn on what happened in Bali

Continuing our highlights from Old Dog’s book, Champions All, leading up to the Grand Final. Mick Martyn on what happened at Bali.

Sound. (or This is still Australia: they’re utes not trucks)

Matt Zurbo thinks his way through some recent footy moments – life moments – and listens for the sounds, and observes the silences.

Almanac Local Footy: Small Time

With his book completed and footy season at a close, Matt Zurbo keeps his AFL watching to one game a week.

Round 13 – North Melbourne v Hawthorn: You open your mouth one week

Old Dog watches Friday night footy and has some observations about physicality, umpiring, electric energy and bar crowds.